• the Pulgas water temple, California
    This 360 panorama is of the Pulgas water temple, California

VirtualParks.org process

       
 

The panoramic process

 
 
Overview of the process
How I do it

1. I usually hike to interesting scenes and carry my gear in a daypack.

2. I use different cameras depending on the portability requirements. All my panoramas are composite images, stitched together from between 12 and 18 separate overlapping images. The camera is mounted sideways on the tripod or monopod using a panhead. I use different panheads depending on how much weight I want to carry.

3. I transfer digital camera images to the computer via USB, or scan the film-based scenes myself using a scanner.

4. I use a variety of stitchers to stitch the images together.

5. The same software usually creates the virtual reality scene file from the stitched image.

All my panoramas are composite images, stitched together from 12 (sometimes up to 18) separate overlapping images.

Photography: During my first year of shooting scenes, all panoramas were captured using a Canon T90 and Canon FD17mm rectilinear lens atop a Bogen 3246 or 3221 tripod using Kodak Gold 400 speed color negative film, scanned onto PhotoCD. For the following few years all photos were taken with a Nikon N90. I use a variety of film... usually Kodak but for different situations I switch to Agfa or Fuji. I scan the film myself, for complete control over reproducing what I saw at the scene. Lately I've been experimenting with Nikon digital cameras, such as the CoolPix 5000.

QuickTime/VR: Scenes up to mid-1997 were created using Apple's QTVR Authoring Tools v1.0. After that I started using Apple's QTVR Authoring Studio v1.01. In almost all cases each scene was built from twelve photos taken at 30 degree intervals. The QTVR Authoring software stitches the photos together, blending and sharpening the final composite panorama. I then opened the resulting PICT file in Photoshop and made adjustments to compensate for variation imperfections, such as dust on the negative. Finally the scene is "diced" and converted into a QuickTime movie by the authoring tools. Finally the QuickTime files are uploaded using the automatic site upload function of Dreamweaver.

More information is available with tips for making your own panoramas.